Our Orange County Elder Abuse Attorney Discusses Elder Abuse
Before reaching out to our Orange County elder abuse attorney, it is important to understand what constitutes elder abuse and the laws that are in place to protect older people from mistreatment. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, elder abuse refers to an act committed by a caregiver or other person that causes harm to a vulnerable adult. The harm must be intentional or negligent and the person who mistreats the older person must be doing so knowingly. Every state has elder abuse prevention laws, although definitions about abuse may vary somewhat.
Types of Elder Abuse
Our Orange County elder abuse attorney says that there are many different types of elder abuse. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Physical – inflicting physical pain or injury that may include slapping, bruising or restraining
- Sexual – forcing an elderly person into non-consensual sexual acts
- Neglect – failure to provide food, shelter, health care or protection
- Exploitation – taking or misusing funds, property or assets illegally in order to benefit another person
- Emotional – causing an older person anguish or distress through humiliation, intimidation or threats
- Abandonment – desertion of someone who is elderly by a person or persons entrusted to care for them
- Self-neglect – failure of the person themselves to perform tasks that will keep them safe and healthy
Signs of Elder Abuse
There are often signs that an older person is being abused by a caregiver. Bruises, pressure marks, abrasions or broken bones indicate that the elderly person may be suffering from physical abuse or neglect. If an older person suddenly withdraws from activities, becomes less alert or appears depressed, they may be suffering from emotional abuse. Elderly people who develop bedsores, display poor hygiene or lose weight for no apparent reason could be suffering from neglect. Other, less apparent signs of abuse are uses of power and control by spouses or caregivers as well as frequent arguments or strained relationships between the older person and the caregiver. If an elderly person seems to have developed a sudden financial problem, a caregiver may be exploiting them. Unfortunately, it could take months or years before the exploitation is discovered.
Our elder abuse attorney says that older people are often reluctant to report abuse by a caregiver, especially if they are being cared for by a spouse or their children. In some cases, the older person may no longer have the mental capacity to recognize abuse, especially exploitation. Family members whose older relatives are being cared for by outside agencies should be vigilant regarding changes in their loved one’s appearance, demeanor and financial standing.
Contact Our Orange County Elder Abuse Attorney for Help
If you have an older loved one that you suspect is suffering from any type of abuse, contact the office of Russell & Lazarus APC today to learn what rights they may have. You may reach us by phone at 949-851-0222. According to the National Incidence Study on Elder Abuse and our Orange County elder abuse attorney, approximately 450,000 elderly people experience abuse each year, so contact our office today so we can begin taking steps to protect your loved one immediately.